Thursday, May 31, 2012


  God was sending a message from heaven when He placed before the people, "You shall not commit adultery." (Ex. 20:14) After that commandment, we find in Lev. 20:10-12 that if there is adultery committed with another man's wife, with a friends wife, with his father's wife or with his daughter-in-law, both were to be put to death. Adultery in the nation of Israel was treated not only as a spiritual law but also had a civil, a criminal dimension to it. God was not going to stand for immorality of any kind among those who belong to Him!
  Adultery was a threat. Adultery between two married people carried with it the death penalty. Adultery committed between one married and one unmarried carried with it the death penalty. Adultery is treachery! It is treachery against God. It is treachery against the covenant of marriage! It is treachery against another person. Adultery breaks all commitments and ties to the Lord as well as mankind.
  Today, we see our society treat adultery as something so common they call it an affair. It's not longer looked at as immoral. We hear the statements made, "If things were being taken care of at home, they would not have to step out!" In other words, don't worry about a whole hearted commitment to the covenant of marriage, don't be honest and trustworthy in your promises but you can be treacherous if things aren't going well in the covenant! And what happens? The people of God are led into thinking they have a right. Forget God's covenant with us, we have a right to adultery! Forget my covenant I made to God in the holiness of marriage to my spouse, we have a right to adultery! The church flaunts before the world that we too are like them and agree with them in regard to adultery. Just look at our divorces and marital issues. And we wonder why we are converting few and so many have unspiritual mind-sets?
  No matter what one says, God still speaks that adultery and fornication (illicit sexual relations between two unmarried) will keep one from heaven (I Cor. 6:9). From the birth of God's covenant people, adultery was treated as a criminal punishment as well as spiritual. It had to be dealt with quickly to keep sin from the encircling the heart of God's people. That's why Paul taught the immoral one at Corinth needed to be removed from among them and the people needed to mourn and weep while they had embraced sin by letting him assembly with them (I Cor. 5) Even when our country was born over 200 years ago, in many places adultery was treated with a criminal dimension. Today it's treated almost as common as a cold. No big deal. And the hearts of people are being destroyed by sin and corruption. I wonder what God still thinks?  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Be Thankful"

  Maybe we miss it. I know I do at times. It's all over the teachings of the new covenant. "Be thankful!" Simple words but their impact on our hearts seems to escape us at times. Oh, we are thankful when we are reminded to be thankful but are we really thankful in all things?
  In the midst of anxiety, we are to let our requests be made known to God with thankfulness (Phil. 4:6). Paul reminded the brethren at Colossae to be thankful (Col. 3:15) and sing with thankfulness (Col. 3:16). The brethren at Ephesus were instructed to always be giving thanks in all things (Eph. 5:20). The words that come from our lips are to be words that give thanks (Eph. 5:4). The Thessalonians were reminded to give thanks in everything (I Thes. 5:18). The Hebrew writer said our lips are to give thanks to the name of God (Heb. 13:15). Paul instructed the preacher Timothy in the assembly to pray with thanksgiving (I Tim. 2:1). It is all over the new covenant teachings!
  We just don't know how good we really have it! It was just a four years ago everyone was running around griping and complaining about the price of gas. You never heard thankfulness! And you don't hear it today! Four years ago we were paying about $1.75. Wouldn't that be great today? But because of the lack of thankfulness of heart, people continue their complaining. I realize we pay $3.38 right now. I'm thankful because we were paying almost $4 just a couple of months ago. As I filled up my truck and paid over $75, I was thankful because it could be $100. Be thankful!!!
  Thank God for His richness toward you instead of complaining how bad you have it! We have all these blessings and it is amazing to see how many when you travel to a third world country. It really hits you how wonderful things are where we live. Be thankful. When you face surgery, be thankful that we have the technology to help. Yes it hurts but be thankful. Thankfulness should penetrate deep into our hearts. I'm working more and more on that presently. And above all, we possess something that the world does not possess: EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING AND SALVATION! Shouldn't that alone bring to our hearts an attitude of thankfulness? Many do not realize how good they have it until it is lost. Let's not go there. "Be thankful!" 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Standing Against Goliath's"

  Sometimes they are like "Goliath's" in the church. God's people have a great heart to love and help but then there are those who just seem to want to point out everything wrong, what they deem as a misstep and challenge those leading. Leaders in the church must be patient, loving and able to endure the "Goliath's" that come to the forefront at times.
  God raises up leaders in the church, that's His gift of grace at work (Rom. 12: 8). Leaders are going to feel challenged and find themselves emotionally distressed at times. That's what the body doesn't see. Attacks are made and words spoken yet here are the leaders enduring for the sake of the whole. The leaders are simply men but they are spiritual men raised up by God trying to do what is best for the whole. How their hearts ache at times and are distressed over situations. More words are thrown at them and they simply do not attack back while silently enduring trusting in the Lord. If the Lord did not intervene, these men would be taken down. The people of God are a wonderful people but there are those who can be fickle at times. What I have learned in the last 32 plus years of preaching is that in the Lord's body, it's not majority rules but the Lord rules and many times, the Lord goes against the majority! It doesn't take much to look at Moses what Korah, Dathan and Abiram did to him and Aaron. In fact, they brought 250 men of high reputation to attack God's leaders (Num. 16). Why? Because they didn't like they direction Moses and Aaron were taking the people nor their decisions!
  The body of Jesus, the church of the New Testament, is led by Jesus and His leaders are raised up to do His work, His bidding. I would encourage our leaders, stand strong! Don't flinch! Where you live, encourage your leaders. They have a great responsibility and sometimes they feel the loneliness of standing against the majority. You may not realize that but they quietly and humbly stand with the Lord. Sometimes our leaders have to stand against "Goliath's" and boldly rely on the Lord for His guidance and help. If it wasn't for the Lord's help, they would fold. Thank the Lord for His strength and power and for His leaders.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Invest In Jesus"

  I can remember as a kid that when Christmas was getting close, it seems like it took F   O   R   E   V   E   R for it to arrive. Giddy and anxious for the day to open presents was like watching molasses flow from a jar that's been in the refrigerator! Today, we are about to begin the half way point of the year and before you know, the end of the year will be here with all the holidays.
  I was watching a movie that I watched many years back and it hit me, the actors in this movie are all dead. It seems almost each week someone we knew acting has passed away. I really was disappointed when Barney Fife (Don Knotts) passed or Jed Clampet (Buddy Ebsen) and the list goes on.
  What's my point? I think you know. Life is just like a vapor and all that is left is memories. Nothing will ever return about anyone's life. Nothing will return in our times past. We are left with pictures to remind us of, "Aw, I remember that!" It makes me wonder why some never seriously invest in the Lord Jesus before their death? You know it's coming rapidly. There are those in the church that have never seriously invested in the Lord either. That might seem an odd statement but just think about the things that are against the Lord that they either stand in or have stood in without one ounce of repentance. Unless there is some seriousness and humility in heart, they are going to face a horrid ending. Too many are more concerned about saving face than saving their souls. There are those who have never been transformed by the Lord. They only conformed and their lives show it.
  Over the years I have spent a lot of time with grieving hearts over the passing of a loved one. I've heard the questions, "Do you think they made it?" like they were on a journey into space hoping they landed in the right location. I've heard the stories from families that speak about the attitudes of those who departed and it really tugs on your heart because they reveal things no one else saw or heard. So I ask us, please, let's re-examine our lives and ask if we really are in the faith? Are we really following the Lord with a whole heart? It's worth eternity to do such!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"If Only"

  Where you worship with the saints, how many times have you heard complaints or seen people go off into bad attitudes because of two words: "if only!" 
  "If only" we had this program or that program the church would move forward!
  "If only" our song leaders would stop leading this song or that song or lead different songs I would have a better attitude in worship!  
  "If only" our preacher wasn't dull and had better lessons for us!
  "If only" our elders would be informative or they need to be doing this or that more!
  "If only" people in the congregation cared like I care!
  "If only" and the list continues to grow. Too many times we are hindering the work of our Lord Jesus Christ simply by our "if only." When this attitude prevails in our hearts, what are we offering to the Lord with our lives? What are we really putting our faith in when "if only" seems to be the over-riding in our attitudes and thinking?
   "If only" Abraham had gone west where the land of promise lay instead of north, he would have saved a lot of frustration and time! What did Abraham do that we don't? He believed in God! By faith when he was called and obeyed going out not knowing where he was going (Heb. 11:8). God called Abraham to put his trust, his life into God's hands! God called David to trust Him, putting his faith in His word and not look back in regrets saying, "if only!" Jacob was dying, leaning on the top of his staff and blessed the sons of Joseph and worshiped leaving out any "if only." True faith in God will keep the "if only" syndrome away from our hearts and build a loving and trusting relationship. It will lead us to encourage one another rather than assess what is wrong with one another, or who is messing up this time or what isn't going right. The only thing that holds the church back or those who keep the "if only" attitudes alive! The faithful present themselves to God as a living and holy sacrifice that is acceptable to God because of His mercies (Rom. 12:1). That's the difference of the two mind sets!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"What Do You Make Clear?"

  If you would quietly sit and examine your life, what do you think you would find? How many of us ever take that time and examine ourselves to see where we really stand in our faith? Each day you go about doing the things you do, why do you do it? Maybe your job requires it? Your home needs it? Whatever it is you do daily, there is a clear message being sent about you.
  Those faithful, God centered people of the Old Testment did something in their lives. Just listen: "For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own." (Heb. 11:14) What country is that? "But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them." (Heb. 11:16) When their lives were examined, they "made it clear" where they were walking and headed. Their lives were committed to the Lord God. The result? God is not ashamed to be called their God!
  When we examine our lives, what are you making clear? Too many speak of God and their service to God but the real question arises is God ashamed to be called their God? I know growing up I have shamed my parents and I know there were times they were ashamed of me being their son. Why? Because of my actions and lack of responsibilities. That's not what my parents stood for. What about God? As those call on Him, speak about Him, defend Him in certain situations yet go about their lives with little thought about the things they do, say and committ to. God is ours when it's convienant but when it comes to committing, listening and following, that seems to be out there somewhere. Maybe we need to ask ourselves, what are we really making clear to those around us?

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Easy To Discourage"

  Discouragement seems to want to raise its head over and over. It wants to pull me into a ditch and hold me there. Don't you find yourself there at times? Things seem to pound on you day by day. I have received comments about time for a change in our pulpit or you've been here too long. (Which I have prayed about that the Lord open the doors if that's His will! No doors opened!!!) People complain about songs that are led they don't like or disagree with. We need better teachers in our Bible studies or simply complain about something. I recently heard one say they are so tired of loving others and get no love in return! Today, I'm not discouraged at all but this is something I have recently come through. Please, I'm not looking for any sympathy but using this to teach us all a lesson.
  It seems there are those in the body of Christ that are there to discourage! Nothing is right in their eyes. They have complained so long about so many varied things that complaining is just part of who they are. And each time they speak, they start with, ""I don't want to be negative here!" But that's exactly what they want to be. They don't know how to build up the body in love. They only know how to discourage the sincere, humble servants of Jesus that something is being done they just don't like and rather speak to the Lord with a good attitude of thanksgiving, they speak to the servants with an attitude of complaint! Love is out the window.
  It's been around since the beginning. Paul addressed it in I Cor. 10, warning the brethren at Corinth about what happened to the grumblers in the days of Moses. They were destroyed by the destroyer because they craved evil things (10:6). Grumbling, complaining and disputing over things are the very tools the devil uses to divide Christ! They not only divide but prove to the world we aren't the children of God (Phil. 2:14-15). It's easy to grumble and complain! It takes no effort but what about building up the body in love? What if we would just listen to the Lord, rally around the unity of the faith and grow up into Christ? Isn't that what would build us up in love? The reason we have those complainers, those fault finders, those grumblers Paul says is because those who do such have not matured spiritually (Eph. 4:13). 
  Let's build! We have everything to gain because our lives are  headed to greater things in Christ. I can't wait to see what it is like in the presence of God! My mind cannot comprehend it but one things I am certain of, there will be no discouragement!!! Now that's something to look forward to.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"To The Praise Of His Glory"

  It amazes me how many times I have heard from people saying they are trying to find their purpose in life. Sincere, honest and upright people just wanting to know where they fit. We have heard people say that God has a plan for you. But where do we get that? I cannot think of a verse that says that. It sounds noble but I'm not sure the Scriptures teach that, do you?
  God definitely has a purpose and is working everything for His purpose. His purpose was and is in Christ Jesus! God determined everything through Christ Jesus from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:5). The result? That we would be "to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6) That's our purpose.
  Jesus suffered by being reviled, uttering no threats but just continually kept entrusting Himself to the Judge of mankind (I Pet. 2:21-23). It took His suffering to heal us! In order to be healed, there must be something that wounded us and left a nasty infection. It's called sin. God purposed through Jesus to bring mankind to Himself and  heal them through His wounds. The result: "The praise of His glory!" We are the wounded that have been healed. Wounded healers. That's what would bring praise to His glory if we would take that message to our neighbors and friends. Have we forgotten who He is in relation to us? You want purpose? Reach out to those who need healing from a sin sick led life! That's mankind. We have stopped talking to those who have been ravaged by sin. We have around us people just wanting a kind expression, to recognize them as someone and in the process reaching out with a message to heal. Maybe this preacher has failed. No, I know I have failed at times expressing our purpose. We have a message and are on a mission! "To the praise of the glory of His grace!" His grace reaches me and Jesus suffered my wounds so my wounds could be healed! That makes me (you) wounded healers. The person in line at the store, the empty lives around us need healing and there is only One that did that and can do that: His name is Jesus. That brings glory to God and praise from us. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"No Place For Hard Feelings"

  Too many times those in Christ Jesus allow their emotions to determine their stance more than the Lord! Emotions are terrible 'lords'. When people live by their emotions to determine this or that, it makes one desensitized to their own villianous heart when they take aim at someone they don't like. Paul knew that Satan was a schemer (II Cor. 2:11) and Satan will use whatever advantage he can take over us. One of Satan's greatest tools in the Lord's church is hard feelings toward other brothers or sisters. Hard feelings are a terrible doctrine, a mistaken doctrine! The question pops Hard feelings are not based on dying to self but protecting self! There is no mercy shown in hard feelings but only anger and resentment. Does that sound like a sacrificing love? Hard feelings are nothing but pure emotions driving an individual to hate.
  The churches of Galatia had some brethren in them that turned on Paul. What did he do? Allow his feelings to determine his course of action or the Lord? "You have done me no wrong." (Gal. 4:12) They had done Paul little right but he wasn't going to allow that to rule. Listen as he continues: "Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Gal. 4:15-16) Paul was back to the starting point with these brethren trying to form Christ in them...AGAIN! (Gal. 4:19)
  That's the problem isn't it? When we allow our emotions to rule and determine how we feel about another, we give Satan the ground he needs to take us into reasonings of the mind, excuses and seeking for faults in those we are upset at. Where is Christ found in that? People allow their emotions to be their lord. Camps are established and banners are flown over the camps saying, "The truth!" Where is the building up of one another in the love of Christ? Where is mercy, unity and service? It's not there because Christ isn't there! Christ needs to be formed in those hearts again.
  Next time you find someone in your life that is under the power of hard feelings, do this little thing: Pray for them. I mean, really pray for them with sincerity of heart. It's then the Lord does His greatest work. Just watch and see.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"God Reigns"

   We live in a very interesting day and time. While people seem to raise their fists to heaven, try to expel God from this nation and see how bent many are at outrageous sins to flaunt in the eyes of millions, God still reigns! Man doesn't! That's just a plain truthful fact.
  Kick prayer our of school. The Lord God still reigns! Start enacting laws that keep us from preaching against sinful practices that are abominations to the Lord. The Lord God still reigns! All the way back when God sent a flood on this earth and man was set in their heart to do evil, practice sin and give God no thought, still God reigns (Gen. 6:5)! David spoke in Psa. 29: "The Lord sat as King at the flood; yes, the Lord sits as King forever." When Rome ruled the world and began to oppress those who held to the Lord, they found out who reigns as God dismantled their world dominance as seen in Revelation.
  In Psa. 2 the question is asked: "Why are the nations in an uproar and the people devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 'Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!'" While rulers and people try to distance themselves from the Lord, He still reigns!
  While in Buffalo, New York, they had an article in the paper about the region and religion. They found a mass exodus in the religion in their area. While people claimed this or that religion, the majority have become "unpracticing". Many said they were disillusioned with religion and that we are self-made and can maintain life without some make-believe Diety! This seems to be the shift in attitude of our nation "He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them." (Psa. 2:4)
  I pray we never loose sight of the One who reigns! Here is the advice God speaks to the rulers: "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath man soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" (Psa. 2:10-12)
  God reigns at creation. God reigns at the flood. God reigns at the crucifixion of Jesus! God reigns when He brings this world to its close. Never, ever forget it! Fear the Lord and keep His commandments.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Keeping On Keeping On"

  Today is an odd day for me to write my blog but I will be in the travel process on Monday. Let me help you with something in life called "burnout"! Too many get burned out of their jobs or pursuits and in the church. We go so hard, so fast and furious that we find ourselves...well, tired and bored. What really causes this? What are we to do? I will use my many years and share what I see.
  First, burn out is the result of no intake or lack of fuel. We all need nourishment and need to have the proper nourishment. That means it is more than just getting rest and relaxing. "In pointing these things out to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following." (I Tim. 4:6) "Constantly nourished" is the key. If one is "constantly nourished" that means it gives no rise to burn out. Paul said it to the church at Corinth this way: "Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day." (II Cor. 4:16) Too many try to relieve the outer man and day by day the inner man starves. The result? BURN OUT!
  Secondly, learn how to say 'NO' to people. People want our time, demand our time and we are put into positions to be made to feel obligated to them. It is okay to say 'no'. When you say 'no', there will be those who will set up a house on guilt street and use that on you. However, in the Lord we have the privilege to say 'no' in situations and it isn't wrong. Guilt street wasn't built by the Lord but by demanding people who want to try to control you. "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1) That's what my Lord says and if someone tries to condemn there is something wrong with their thinking!
  Lastly, remember not everything depends on you! It's not because you do something or don't do something that determines an outcome. God is what every thing is dependent upon. Some people have ideas they would like to do and act like the whole church is based upon their ideas. Sometimes we have things we would like to see implemented in the church but the rest see no need. What do we do? Get upset. Take a bad attitude as if everything depends on you or your idea. It is God who determines if something is worthwhile or not. God raises up people and He doesn't. Read your Bible and see how many times in the Old Testament (a comparison of the New Testament church) when God needed His people for a particular thing, not all were involved but those who were moved helped. (See Ex. 35:21-22) God causes all growth! God causes everything to move forward and it is not dependent upon me! I just have to be humble and try to do what I can when I can and let God have His way! "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." (Rom. 9:16)
  Burn should not be for us in Christ Jesus! Take in nourishment daily. Say 'no' at times especially when you feel pressured. And learn things  don't advance just because of us. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Has God Short-Changed Us?"

  We aren't short on information. Just walk through a book store and look at the books that line the shelves about spiritual matters and teachings. I like to read books but I too realize they are just part of the mind of man with views of God. In other words, they are not the Lord and should be used just as they are written with that in mind.
  But then when it comes to the word of the Lord, so many seem to be looking for something thinking that God didn't give us all we need. There are things that some say are left out, things that weren't addressed and some speak as if God has 'short-changed' us. When we look at God's holy Scripture, some think that He didn't give us everything we need in this area or that. Has it ever occurred to us that God has given us exactly what we need and all we need? God points we have all we need and need to heed what is given!
  Here's the way to go: embrace with all our heart and live in the light of the truth that God has given us. If we start side-stepping and quibbling about the plain truth revealed, we start inserting ourselves as the authority and seeking things that aren't part of God. People seem to seek something but not what is revealed. Why even in the church, members of Christ's body seem to pursue something other than what the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of our lives has revealed. A lot of people want to tell us that God hasn't exhaustively instructed us in every area of our lives. We have the instructions, the proper teachings, why do we not go with them?
  I guess I'm one of those that is rather simplistic at times. People speak of lost books and writings and off they go to find something that they do not even know they are looking for. God has been explicit enough. Here's the thing: God has told us one major lesson that leads us to greater understanding. It's called "transformation!" In Rom. 12:1-3 God speaks loudly through the apostle Paul that we need to present ourselves back to the Almighty, say NO to the world and start renewing our minds so we can be transformed into something much different than we are where we can begin to understand the things that are good, acceptable and perfect in God's will. That is what will lead one into not thinking more highly of themselves! Let's not haggle over things. We have the instructions plainly laid out. When are we going to believe this is the way to God and living? It's not we have been 'short-changed' on information. We simply do not want to submit to the information we have in order to have 'formation!'

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"I'll Be Fine!"

  We have watched many whom we love die. Death is something we have a difficult time with because we seem to know so little at what to expect. People ask questions, "Where do we go?" (I am speaking of those faithful in Christ) or "Are they in Paradise?" People reach for answers because they hurt in their heart at missing someone they love. We want to think noble things of our loved ones but we seek for answers.
  Recently my uncle died and the family told me that before he passed, he looked at them while their eyes were filled with tears and said, "It will all be alright! I'll be fine!" We have seen it in men and women in Jesus face this most unique journey with so many questions and they find peace and comfort. The only thing that seems to really bother them is saying goodbye to those they love. The godly lady sitting by her husbands side crying saying she didn't want him to go. He gently smiled at her and said, "I'm headed on a journey and if you want to come, pack your bags! I'll be fine!"
  "I'll be fine!" Paul said the same, didn't he? Didn't Paul speak about dying being a gain (Phil. 1:21)? Didn't Paul speak of his dying that he wanted to go and be with Christ (Phil. 1:23)? Paul felt and emotional pull to stay but his bigger pull was to be with Jesus. We need to take Paul's word at face value to understand what he understood about death. Wasn't it Paul who was caught up to hear some things that were in inexpressible words that man was not permitted to speak (II Cor. 12:4)? Whatever that was, it makes you wonder if he knew something that seems so obscure to us in regard to life and death. He was ready to depart and be where ever Jesus was and he told that boldly to the saints at Philippi!
  Peter expresses that we have been born again "to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (I Pet. 1:3) We have a living hope, not a dead hope. Jesus died our death but it was His resurrection over death that brings things to our hearts. We, because we are in Christ Jesus, have this same living hope. He is alive and well presently. We too, when death takes us from this mortal state, will be alive in Him, with Him and for all eternity. That's a living hope! We can expect the same state of being like Christ is presently. John says he doesn't know what that will be but whatever it is we will experience upon death, we will be just as He is because we are children of God (I John 3:2).And what is He like presently? LIVING!!!
  Yes, we as mortals miss our loved ones. It hurts our hearts because we depended on someone, loved someone so deeply and felt this hole in the middle of ourheart. Wasn't it always God's desire to bring us to Himself? Doesn't Jesus speak that? Doesn't God promise that? I pray upon facing death, we too can in reality speak the words from our heart of faith: "I'LL BE FINE!"

Monday, May 7, 2012


  One of the greatest blessings in life from God the Father is marriage! It is a part of our history in this phase of our lives while on this earth. Marriage shows us what commitment is about, what holiness should be about and what our lives to the Lord are about!
  When someone speaks of monogamy, they are speaking of one man and one woman in marriage. But monogamy is more than that. It is one man and one woman that are so committed and so loving that they simply will not share that with anyone else in the same way they share with one another! Marriage is a man and woman that are so committed to one another that speaks: "We may have friends and relationships that come and go but I never will! I will be there no matter what! If you're sick, I'm your caretaker. I will do anything for you EXCEPT LEAVE YOU! That's the way God intended it to be. 
  Marriage isn't always easy. It's not always those flowers sent, candlelight dinners and as some say, "sweet nothings" whispered in the ears. But at the same time, marriage isn't all that tough either. What I have learned from the Lord in looking at His desire for marriage, marriage is what the Lord is to you! However you view the Lord and your relationship to Him, that's how you will view your marriage. We've seen those who loving, faithfully place themselves under the loving hand of Jesus. You look at their marriages and there is no doubt, those two will be those two until the day they die. They leave room for NO ONE else because they love the Lord, they love one another. There will be no adultery! There will be no one allowed to desecrate the relationship because they realize the preciousness of the blood and that preciousness is realized in their relationship to one another. 
  Our marriages are kept pure and holy because we are kept pure and holy in our faith to the Lord. Marriage relationships are nurtured! Marriage relationships are cherished! Don't we do that in our relationship to the Lord? Let go of the Lord Jesus and marriage will become less than the Lord intended. Look at your marriage and what do you see? Really, what do you see? Is it a reflection of the Lord? 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"What's Love?

  How difficult it is for us to grasp the love of God. Yes, it is very difficult. We don't understand His love very well. We make the love of God a sentimental swooning toward us. God's love is so grand and high that words cannot express it. One thing for sure, God's love understands that sin gets in the way between He and us and if we aren't humble in dealing with our sins before Him, His love must deal with us! Sin destroys everything God stands for and He will not tolerate it!
  We come to passages like I John 3:16: "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." That should teach us something, right? Why do we have such difficulty in allowing God's love to shape us? Why are so many of us who have failed over and over afraid of God's love? We continue to read in I John 4:9-10: "By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 
  Something incredible and astonishing has taken place in the coming and the dying of Jesus Christ. We speak of His death each and every week in the Supper but do we really find ourselves partaking, fellowshiping Him in that Supper? You wouldn't know it by the way some treat His love in loving His brethren! Others cannot accept His love because of their personal guilt. They simply cannot get beyond their failures. Love is turned away in our hearts. What are we to do? Maybe we should spend more time listening, LISTENING to the Lord speaking through His word rather than filling our minds, hearts and mouths with religious chatter!!! We seem too well versed in verses we won't let speak to our souls and we end up with a bunch of empty, meaningless talk. It leaves us with little power to grasp hold of and little power in our lives!
  Bottom line, the dying of Jesus is not just an act of dying! It is a redeeming act, an atoning act and a sacrificial death! Let's stop taking the love of God as seen in the death of Jesus and lowering it to some sentimental act. There is too much sugary indulgence that falsely goes under the heading of God's love. Why do you think we are having trouble converting people? Too much talk on love is about our happiness and little on God's holiness!! The cross is the center of God's love and without that, we become a people that is bent on a relationship of personal delight with little care and concern for the needs and wishes of the One showing us His love!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Naive Christianity"

  There seems to be more and more a movement toward "naive Christianity." What do I mean? First, "naive Christianity" is not compatible with the life of Jesus or His teachings. Second, "naive Christianity" is simply those who take a positive view of everything. In other words, everyone has good in them or every religion has something to teach us. It reaches to the banks of everyone should be fellowshipped who believes in the Lord. It even reaches that everyone will eventually make it to heaven. I'm not attacking things just trying to teach what is true and right in light of the Lord.
  "Naive Christianity" will cost people their souls. Here's why. Jesus knew that not everyone has some good in them. Jesus warned His disciples: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw our pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matt. 7:6)
  Jesus knew that there would be false prophets, men who look as if they are from God but aren't. "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matt. 7:15) The apostle Peter warned about false teachers who will be among the church introducing destructive heresies secretly. Many will follow and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned (II Pet. 2:1-2).
  Jesus taught that we should not fellowship the majority teaching: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt. 7:13-14)
  Jesus did not teach that everyone who is good will end up in heaven one day but rather, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."  (Matt. 7:21)
  Let's face it, "naive Christianity" will kill the souls of many. Just being "positive" is not the attitude Jesus manifested. On the other side, being negative is not proper either. There needs to be balance and that balance is based on the words of our Lord. "Naive Christianity" will rob people of truth that Jesus brought to man from His Father. Remember, those claiming God as their own, who worshipped Him, read His Scriptures, prayed daily and gave alms to the Lord were the very ones who crucified Him!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Because Of Him"

  I've spent the last week traveling to a funeral of my uncle. What made this journey to pay my respects so unique was the nature of our family. We aren't any different than other families. We do have a unique situation with my kin.  I have two sets of double cousins. One on my mother's side and one on my dad's side. We all grew up within a few miles of one another and spent a lot of time with each other. This is the first, with more to come in the near future, that death has touched this close-knit part of our family.
  It didn't take long when we got together that the reminders came out. Each cousin were quick to remind me of my 'meanness' growing up. Stories were told, laughs were abundant but I kept seeing something missing. TRUTH! They had bits and pieces of things that had happened but left out was critical truth in certain situations. I did get to set some of that straight! No doubt I was a rounder in my younger years but as the children of my cousins would come up to me and tell me they had heard stories and wanted to meet me. One of my younger kin said he wanted to meet me to see if I was still the same! I asked him the same as what? He simply said the same as he had heard. I guess he was waiting on me to hit him in the head with a rock, or smash an egg on him, throw a dirt clod and hit him in the mouth or shoot him with a roman candle, or catch his hair on fire!! I don't know but it was funny to see and hear. I had one of my cousins children said I was "infamous." I shrugged my shoulders, smiled and thought..."Infamous, wow, that's more than famous!!!!"
  I guess as I write and reflect on my life, one thing became rather clear. Mercy! Grace! Truth! I cannot begin to thank the Lord for those three elements of His nature. No one needed mercy like me. Grace was extended to me because I simply could not have made it today without His grace reaching me. Grace brought salvation and instructed my life (Titus 2:11-12). Truth was the only way I would find my way out of spiritual darkness. Truth is the only way one can continue to stand in a right relationship with the Lord.
  I was so thankful to be able to go and take my parents to say goodbye to their brother/brother-in-law. I learned so much as painful as some of it was. But I can smile today because I was shown mercy. It doesn't take long to reflect on your past and be humbled by your present knowing, it wasn't you! It was HIM, the Lord Jesus Christ. I must say, all my kin doesn't really know what to do with me today. I'm not sure I don't either. All I can say because of HIM is thank you!